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Putt like
the Pros

Pipe Dream or

Attainable Goal?.


It is good to believe that you can putt as well as the pros, but the reality is that as an amateur you probably won't have the same motivation to put in the long hours of practice.

Putt like the Pros

Published in 1989 the book by Dave Pelz explains how to match the pros on the green. But how realistic is this claim?

Putting is said to be the great equaliser in golf. By this is implied that the amateur golfer can learn to match the Tour Professional's skill on the greens.

Certainly wielding the flat stick does not require great athleticism. It is not a test of strength.

While you may not be able to hit the 300-yard drive, or get the ball to back up on the green, there is no obvious reason why you can't hole out as well as the pros do.

Pencil Grip

Some years ago a non-golfing grandmother wearing gum boots won a regional putting contest. What stuck in my memory was her unusual grip. Her left hand position was normal, but her right hand was placed on the shaft as if she was holding a pencil.

Motivation and Time

To hole out consistently you need a repeatable stroke, good aim and touch, the ability to read greens and so on.

Despite all of this you will probably never attain the level of skill of the professionals or hole as many four- or five-footers as they do.

Professionals play better in all aspects of the game because they have to. They learn to excel at their short game, for if they don't their career on tour will be short-lived. This is not the reality of the average amateur golfer teeing it up at the weekend.

However, there is another reason why you may under-perform the professionals.

Better Prepared Greens

In preparing for a tournament the Course Superintendent knows that the greens will come under the greatest scrutiny and criticism. The criteria for a European Tour Event set down by The British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association are:

  1. Smoothness of surface which will allow a ball to run straight and true without 'snaking' and 'bobbling' and remain in contact with the surface at all times.
  2. A good green will be firm (not hard) and will accept a well-struck iron shot and will reject a poorly struck approach shot of a shot from the rough.
  3. Pace of green should be as fast as possible provided that the surface smoothness is never sacrificed in order to produce speed.

So how does the course you regularly play on stack up to these demanding requirements? Chances are that you will play on greens that have been prepared to sustain more traffic and remain disease free throughout the year. They will be softer, slower, and less predictable in the way your ball rolls across the surface.

Grass needs a certain amount of leaf to survive and can't be stressed by close mowing the way tournament greens are prepared for the week of the event.

Realistic Expectations

Yes, you can learn how to Putt like the Pros and this should be your goal. But unless you are special invitee or play in a Pro-Am, you will seldom get to experience perfect greens that are free of indentations and imperfections, and where the ball runs bobble-free.

Distance for distance chances are that on your greens you will miss a greater percentage than the pros despite your level of skill.

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